Karina Longworth

Karina Longworth is a film historian, writer and podcaster in LA. Her podcast on Old Hollywood, "You Must Remember This", just finished a season about blonde actresses, from Thelma Todd to Marilyn Monroe to Dorothy Stratten, who came to tragic and/or untimely ends. She's also working on a book about the Hollywood women in Howard Hughes’ life.

Ok let's start with our most pressing question: what old movies should we stream on Netflix this month?

"An Unmarried Woman" - possibly the most realistic, “woke” movie of the 70s about how the sexual revolution really impacted adult women.

"The Panic in Needle Park" - the namesake of that "Girls" episode in which Marnie slums it with her ex-boyfriend Charlie stars a very young Al Pacino as a junkie in love.

"Sunset Boulevard" - my second favorite Hollywood movie about Hollywood (after the Judy Garland version of "A Star is Born"), Billy Wilder’s masterpiece is utterly timeless in its depiction of the inevitable swapping out of one generation for younger, fresher models.

What are the best sites for Classic Hollywood buffs?

FilmStruck, the new streaming service from TCM and Criterion, is awesome. I use canistream.it a lot to figure out where I can stream things. Usually for the stuff I’m looking for, often obscure older films, the answer is unfortunately “nowhere”, but Archive.org has a lot of films that are in the public domain or otherwise in murky rights territory.

What Hollywood star would have a lifestyle blog if they lived today?

Gloria Swanson would definitely have a Goop. She was preaching about the evils of sugar back in the silent era.

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Karina Longworth at her home in Los Angeles. Photographed by Austin Hargrave.

What are your favorite vintage clips on Youtube?

YouTube is so great as a place to see movies that are available nowhere else, but I don’t want to name any specific finds or users because I don’t want anything to disappear. As far as things that are probably safe: right now I’m obsessed with this episode of "The Mike Douglas Show" from the early 1970s, featuring John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Barbara Loden, an actress-turned-filmmaker who I profiled in my most recent season of "You Must Remember This." Barbara talks about her movie "Wanda," and then she joins Yoko and John to play Yoko’s “Midsummer New York,” which is just a fucking great song.

There are also quite a few episodes of "Mysteries and Scandals," which was a documentary series that was on the E! Network when I was in college, and which is a major, not-so-secret inspiration for "You Must Remember This."

What advice do you give aspiring podcasters?

I don't consider myself an expert on podcasting — I'm just a film writer who took a chance that podcasting might be a better format for what I wanted to do than a written website. It's a total fluke that I made a podcast that anyone likes, because I've never known what I was doing. All I can suggest is to pick a topic you're passionate and knowledgeable about, and then find people to help you figure out how to do the things you don't know how to do.

What gadgets were a gamechanger?

It was great to have GarageBand preloaded on my computer when I started, because that allowed me to just record and experiment with editing without knowing what I was doing. I was lucky that my boyfriend had a mic, mic stand and an Avid MBox that I was able to borrow. I record my podcast at home on an iMac, with the mic connected via a Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface.

What podcasts do you listen to yourself?

Every week I listen to "North Mollywood", "Still Processing"(loved the recent episode with Barry Jenkins) and the "Bon Appetit Foodcast." I still love "WTF With Marc Maron" but I’m not that into comedy so I find myself only listening when Maron is talking to someone whose work I already know. The recent episode with Anne Hathaway was especially good — she talked at length about a film she’s preparing to make about Judy Garland, which was news to (Judy Garland superfan) me.

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"I'm completely obsessed with The GrubStreet Diet (hint hint call me GrubStreet—I eat awesome things!)"
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Where do you go online to procrastinate?

I’m definitely on Man Repeller and Into the Gloss at least once a day. A few years ago I would have called those sites guilty pleasures, but increasingly I feel the opposite of guilty about my interest in fashion and beauty. The way women choose to present themselves is a huge part of our identities, and our identities are nothing if not political. I love that a generation of women slightly younger than me have created sites like Man Repeller where we can talk about these things intelligently and practically.

Right now my favorite social media thing is The Best Album of 1994 poll on Twitter. It’s a bracket, with 128 albums competing over three rounds, with a new head-to-head matchup via Twitter pill every day. I turned 14 in ’94 and it was a hugely important time in my cultural development, and I have many beloved horses in this race.

All of these things I use as treats, rewards for hitting goals in the work of the day. I used to use Etsy as an incentive to meet deadlines, but I've had to ban myself from buying vintage clothes online (too often, they just don't fit).

As someone who likes to cook, what are your favorite digital culinary resources?

I love everything Bon Appetit does, and their podcast and their new Healthyish website are both the best—they get me excited about cooking even when I am bleary-eyed from reading for twelve hours straight. Eater LA keeps me up to date on new restaurants and bars so that I sometimes actually go somewhere other than Little Dom's, which is like the commissary for everyone who works in movies in my neighborhood. And I'm completely obsessed with The GrubStreet Diet (hint hint call me GrubStreet—I eat awesome things!)

What was the last great thing you read online?

Val Kilmer’s Reddit.

Keep up with Karina:

t: @karinaLongworth
i: @karinalongworth